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How the Supreme Court Messed Up the Census Case

The Supreme Court’s decision to block the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census was a victory for representative democracy, but the Court could have and should have taken a far stronger posture than it did.

Excerp­ted from The Atlantic, where it was first published.

A divided Supreme Court last week blocked Commerce Secret­ary Wilbur Ross from adding an untested citizen­ship ques­tion to the 2020 census. The Court’s ruling is a victory for repres­ent­at­ive demo­cracy over the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s latest power play, which would have led to a dramatic under­count of the coun­try’s noncit­izen popu­la­tion, with substan­tial implic­a­tions for federal fund­ing and polit­ical repres­ent­a­tion. In the process of reach­ing the right outcome, however, the Court has rewrit­ten history, with justices up and down the bench join­ing together to create an atmo­sphere of normalcy around a ques­tion that is anything but.
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